Analysis by PMOI/MEK
Iran, February 27, 2020—On Wednesday, Iranian regime officials confirmed 139 cases of coronavirus infection and 19 deaths. The real figures, according locals and international observers, is much higher. Iran’s regime, which has played a key role in the spread of the deadly virus through inaction and denial, tried to downplay the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
Iran now holds the second highest number of casualties after China, despite the fact that the government only officially acknowledged coronavirus cases last week. As the epidemic spins out of control, the regime’s is finding it harder and harder to deny a disaster it helped create.
Coronavirus continues to spread across Iran
On Wednesday, the regime’s state-run TV acknowledged that coronavirus cases have been reported in 13 of Iran’s 31 provinces: Qom, Tehran, Markazi, Hamedan, Alborz, Semnan, Mazandaran, Gilan, Kermanshah, Khorasan-e Razavi, Isfahan, Fars and Hormozgan. Hours later, five more provinces were confirmed to have reported coronavirus infection cases.
Most cases are in Qom, the epicenter of Iran’s coronavirus outbreak, and Gilan, northern Iran.
A woman reporting from Tehran on Tuesday said, “The situation is much worse than state media and officials are reporting… Yesterday, we were at the Yaft Abad Hospital. There were 17 deaths in that hospital in just the few hours that I was at that hospital… How can the declare the total deaths in the city to be eight?”
Other reports from Tehran and other cities indicate pharmacies are running very low on sanitizers, facemasks, and other hygiene products.
A local reporting from Zanjan’s Vali Asr Hospital said, “Security forces at the hospital don’t allow anyone to take count of the coronavirus patients. Yesterday, I wanted to take one of my loved ones to the hospital, one of my friends who worked there warned me there were 15 coronavirus patients and we would be infected too if we went to the hospital.”
A man reporting from Andimeshk, Khuzestan province, said, “Unfortunately, coronavirus has reached our city too. Apparently, it has been here for several days and the patients were quarantined. One of them has died and they silently buried him outside the city. The people are outraged at the regime. The situation is chaotic. Many don’t come out of their homes. Hygiene products have become very scarce. The people are preparing for widespread protests and they’re just waiting for a spark. They are fed up.”
Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), called on the World Health Organization (WHO) to send nurses and doctors to Iran to help contain the coronavirus outbreak.
The scale of coronavirus outbreak in Iran much graver than the regime admits
A group of scientists and doctors from the University of Toronto published a research paper that calculates the real figures of coronavirus infections and deaths in Iran based on coronavirus cases traveling from Iran to other countries. The researchers have found that it is statistically possible that 18,000 people are infected in the county.
The research results were published on February 24 based on information available until that date. Researchers focused on volume of travel from Iran to other countries and proven cases of infected people arriving in other countries, such as Lebanon and Canada.
“Given the low volumes of air travel to countries with identified cases of COVID-19 with origin in Iran (such as Canada), it is likely that Iran is currently experiencing a COVID-19 epidemic of significant size for such exportations to be occurring”, the researchers wrote in their report.
On Monday, an Iranian MP said that in Qom alone, 50 people had died of coronavirus. Other local reports indicate coronavirus death in the city exceed 70.
Iran’s regime refrains from taking measures to contain the spread of coronavirus
Hashem Rafi Tabar, member of Beheshti University’s science committee, warned, “We’re in a situation that we must quarantine large cities. Otherwise, the illness will spread like a tsunami… The government must shut down all centers of gatherings, including schools, universities, mosques, stadiums, holy shrines, and cinemas.”
But the regime continues to refrain from taking such measures. Hassan Rouhani, the regime’s president, said on Wednesday, “Regarding rumors that [the government] will quarantine such city for a month or such district for a week, there is no such decision. We will not impose quarantines on cities and districts. We will only quarantine individuals.”
Rouhani added, “Even more important than the coronavirus is the virus of fear, anxiety, doubt and mistrust among the people. We should not cause anxiety and fear among the people. Influenza comes every year and causes deaths.”
The regime also refrains from shutting down holy shrines in Mashhad and Qom, the hotbed of coronavirus infection in Iran. Mohammad Saeidi, the head of the Shrine of Hazrat Masoumeh, Qom, said, “We consider this holy shrine as a house of cure. The people can come here and be cured from illnesses to the body and soul. It should remain open and the people should come.”
Ironically, the regime itself is the cause of anxiety and fear among the people. Iranian officials and government institutions have a long history of covering up the scale of disasters and keeping the people in the dark. The latest example was the downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane by the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), which the regime attributed to technical deficiencies for several days before admitting it was shot down by the military. The regime’s lack of transparency has caused outrage and mistrust among the public. The mere fact that the coronavirus has become so widespread in Iran is largely due to regime officials denying the outbreak in the past weeks because they feared it would result in a low voter turnout in last week’s parliamentary elections.
Rouhani had claimed on Tuesday that the situation in Iran would return to normal by Saturday. The continued lies of the government has exacerbated the people’s mistrust in the regime, a fact that even state-run newspapers are acknowledging. “The people’s trust in the government has been damaged,” wrote the state-run Jahan-e Sanat. “Now that the coronavirus issue has occurred, the people’s mistrust in the government is becoming more evident… Many things were concealed and will definitely be revealed one day. On that day, the people’s anger will erupt again.”